Why I Believe In Interacting With My Followers, Even If Some Of Them Don’t Bother To Reciprocate

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The public perception of a writer

Following on from yesterday’s blog post https://havewehadhelp.wordpress.com/2015/01/09/the-guardian-another-progress-report/ a few thoughts occurred.

First of all, while a mere thirty-nine of the eight hundred and ninety-six people who currently follow my blog ‘liked’ the post, even though according to my blog’s stats only twenty four actually read it, five responded, three by reblogging. Why people merely click ‘like’ without reading a post totally baffles me. But there you go – it happens not only here on my blog but on most Social Media sites, in most cases out of pure habit. Don’t think for one moment that I’m not grateful for the fact that you ‘liked’ my post – I am. But if you are going to ‘like’ any post on any Social Media site, whether its a blog like this one or Facebook etal, at least read it first, otherwise how will you know that you actually like it or not?

Now for the real reason for this blog post. What one person said when she commented got me thinking. She began by saying, “Nifty how youโ€™re taking potential readers on your writing journey.” To which I replied, “I canโ€™t think of a better way for all writers to destroy the illusion that we writers somehow arenโ€™t like everyone else can you? Plus, by posting the Progress Reports, hopefully by the time the book comes out, at least it will ensure that a few people want to buy and read it.” This morning I found another comment from her. Here is what she said in reply to my reply, “Yes, I see that. An interesting adventure for all interested.”

I cannot believe for one minute that I am the only writer out there who considers it his duty to share his or her next story’s journey not only with his or her blog’s followers, but also with his or her readers, both old and new. In my case I like to do it by giving all of you a glimpse into the ‘mechanics’ of writing. My thought processes. How I solve a problem while writing. Even how I come up with my characters.

Unfortunately there is a popular misconception among the vast majority that by definition writers are somehow aloof, distant if you will. Nothing could be further from the truth. Yes, we do tend to be loners, locking ourselves away in our metaphoric garrets, devoting every waking hour to our latest work in progress. To be a successful writer, unfortunately it goes with the territory. But we’re still human beings just like you. We all do the same things you do, or at least we do when we have some spare time.

Just remember this, interaction works two ways. So the next time you click ‘like’, take the time to actually read the post you have just liked. Plus be brave, place a comment below it. I promise you we don’t bite.

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A Couple Of Problems With Social Media Sites That Need Addressing

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Ever noticed how when setting yourselves up on any Social Media site, how they all appear to be blighted by exactly the same problems? Crass stupidity seems to be the order of the day, or could that be just sheer ignorance on the part of those responsible for the sites?

For example, take the field to be filled in re your current work status in the section where your personal details are held. If you are retired, as I am, no Social Media site appears to be able to comprehend the fact that you are no longer part of the workforce. Facebook is a glaring example of what I’m talking about. When I retired almost two years ago, I changed the information to simply read retired. Job done, or so I thought. But no. According to Facebook I now ‘work’ at retired. Duh! No I don’t! What part of the fact that I am retired are you dipsticks unable to grasp?

The same stupidity applies when it comes to your educational status. Why do any of the Social Media sites automatically assume that everyone must have gone to university? Could it be because they were set up by young graduate American entrepreneurs, with no awareness of how people in the real word actually exist?

While it may be the case for a large percentage of today’s generation like them, for people my age and older, most left high school and went into the workforce, or into the armed forces as I did. Very few ever got the chance to do a degree. Most didn’t even want to. Back when I was at school we were ‘streamed’. The few academically bright ones were either groomed for University or Teachers College, while the rest of us were directed elsewhere. Most either entered a trade learning on the job (apprenticeship), or became part of the general workforce, where you were expected to turn your hand to everything and anything, unlike today when you need to have served an apprenticeship (they call it an inhouse degree for some weird reason), to even make and serve a cup of coffee in a certain well known American coffee chain. Perhaps the management think that a degree in coffee making is far more prestigious, who knows. Either way its still learning on the job.

Linkedin is another classic example of a Social Media site suffering from this shared insanity. According to them, I’m retired at retired, whatever that means. Even after I entered the fact in their system, for some strange reason, probably something to do with my full to bursting ‘Skills’ page where other people tell the world what you are good at, they keep on suggesting job offers which they think I may be suited too!

Once again – no, I’m retired you idiots. Get over it! I worked full time for forty years from my fifteenth year until the end of 2003, when at fifty-five, I experienced a total mental breakdown, brought on by stress in the workplace, rendering me unemployable. From then until my sixty-fifth birthday, I existed (barely) on a mental health benefit.

When someone updates their personal information, especially regarding their work status, to read retired, we are not working at retired, nor are we retired at retired. We’re just retired, no longer working, no longer commuting, no longer part of the rat race. We’ve done our bit, paid income tax, worked for various businesses and other employers. We have earned the right to be retired and to finally do what we want, not what an employer demands we do for an often paltry weekly wage. What part of any of that don’t the idiotic dipsticks in charge of Social Media sites seem to be able to fully appreciate?

Rant over…

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